We like to think big over here at Bovitz, Inc., so we have a big vision for how the business world should operate and succeed. And that big vision boils down to a simple idea: not just profit for profit’s sake, but profit for people’s sake.
We believe in business’s ability to bring value to people’s lives, so we think the path to profit should be one that truly addresses people’s needs. We want the rest of the business world to also see that as the only acceptable path, and we’re steadfast in that vision.
But as happens with any transformative goal, at times it can feel like we’re standing alone, at the top of a mountain, gazing off into a distant future that has fallen beyond the horizon. So, when another firm decides to make that climb and stand on the mountain with us, we can’t help but see that envisioned future also climb back up into view.
On Tuesday, Laurence Fink, CEO of behemoth investment firm BlackRock, made that difficult and daring—but utterly freeing and rewarding—trek with his declaration that from now on the companies his firm will invest in “…need to do more than make profits—they need to contribute to society as well if they want to receive the support of BlackRock.”
Wow. Talk about having a partner in this epic adventure we’re on.
BlackRock’s message might be slightly different than ours—theirs placing more emphasis on corporate social responsibility and filling in gaps where governments are failing; ours primarily focusing on creating products and services that truly meet people’s needs—but the mountain we’ve climbed is the same: we’re putting our foot down and saying this is the bigger purpose we believe businesses should have in our society, and we’re going to operate in such a way that sees that purpose through.
Fink goes on to explain his reasoning for the new requirement:
“Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”
And that’s all we’re asking for, too—a positive contribution to society in addition to positive financial performance. Just in addition to—not instead of or ahead of, just value to real people’s lives along with value for executives and shareholders. Firms like us and BlackRock recognize that those two ideas can go hand-in-hand. They’re not mortal enemies; their partnership is not the death of capitalism. Rather, as Fink put it, they are the necessary requirements for a company to truly “prosper over time” in a society that demands its institutions have purpose.
And that’s all us and BlackRock are demanding here, too. Have a purpose that benefits society. Bring real value to people’s lives. Find your mountain. Climb it. And enjoy the view with all the people you’re lifting to greater heights.